puppy raiser Nina Scribner surrounded by her "smiling" guide dogs
Nina Scribner, puppy raiser for Guiding Eyes

In recognition of National Dog Day August 26, 2018, today’s #MembershipSpotlightMonday salutes our members who raise service dogs for people who are blind and visually impaired, such as Guiding Eyes for the Blind. Read about what it’s like to raise these lovely animals from puppy hood to adult –


17-year old fencer, Cosette Dunkle A teenage client of Lighthouse of SW Florida named Cosette Dunkle has been selected to compete in the National Finals in Fencing in St. Louis. Here is more about this 17-year old’s inspirational story.

Cosette learned at age 6 that she has 4 rare eye conditions: Monofixation syndrome/accommodations spasm/blurred vision/myopia with astigmatism. Despite these obstacles, Cosette is seeking to become a Pediatric Oncologist and with technology taught at Lighthouse of SWFL now knows her goal is certainly attainable.  A quote from this young lady is, “I am doing the things people told me I could never do,” including competing at the highest level the first week of July at the National Finals of Fencing in St. Louis where she will compete with fully sighted competitors for the National Championship!  No accommodations for her visual impairment will be made! 

Cosette Dunkle competing in a fencing match


Also, Cosette was awarded to be a delegate at the Florida Association of Centers for Independent Living Youth Leadership Forum in Tallahassee the week of July 18. 

If you’d like to donate to help fund Cosette’s travel expenses to the National Finals of Fencing and the Leadership Forum, please send your donations to: Lighthouse of SW Florida, “Fending Project Fund,” 35 W. Mariana Ave., North Fort Myers, FL 33903-5515 or contact director Doug Fowler at dfowler@lighthouseswfl.org

Lighthouse SW FL logo


For anyone able to come support Cosette, here is information about the location and time from her Mom:

Cosette is competing at the America Center @ 701 Convention Plaza in St. Louis. She is in 2 different events:

  1. Tuesday, July 3rd, Division 2 Women’s Foil. Check-in ends at 2 pm.
  2. Thursday, July 5th, Division 3 Women’s Foil. Check-in ends at 4pm.

Once check-in has ended the event coordinators will assemble the pool groups. So first she will compete in Pools, then if she makes the ‘cut’ she will compete in Direct Eliminations until she loses. There are 168 fencers competing on Tuesday and 160 on Thursday, so the event will take a couple of hours at least.

Note: if anyone does come to see Cosette look for her back that says DUNKLE, then you will find her!

Hadley Institute logoThe textureless glass screen of an iPhone or iPad can seem formidable to someone who is blind or visually impaired, and learning to code on those devices could be even more daunting. Apple is working to change that. The tech giant is partnering with the Hadley Institute for the Blind and Visually Impaired to bring its coding curriculum to more people with visual disabilities.  READ MORE

Chicago Lighthouse logo

Member Chicago Lighthouse was recently featured on The Visionaries Public Television Series. The episode features key programs offered by The Lighthouse and their life-changing impact. Watch the episode here: http://ow.ly/JNld30jXpsN

Denise Jess head shotSharing a great radio feature interview with member Denise Jess, Executive Director of the Wisconsin Council of the Blind & Visually Impaired, on the work her agency does in Wisconsin: https://www.wortfm.org/172877-2/

Chantel Buck of New Vision for IndependenceIn this talk entitled, “Re-Thinking Disabilities in the Workplace” recorded at TEDxEustis in January 2018, Chantel Buck who serves as the President/CEO of New Vision for Independence, the Leesburg, FL based non-profit organization serving the visually impaired and blind in Lake and Sumter counties believes that blindness does not have to be a barrier to independence. WATCH THE VIDEO

Mark Lucas headshotMark Lucas is President of the United States Association of Blind Athletes (USABA). More than 500 athletes from around the world are preparing to travel to South Korea to compete on the largest international stage for athletes with disabilities – the Paralympic Winter Games. There will be plenty of excitement with athletes competing in four snow sport disciplines and two ice sport disciplines. To get an idea of what you can expect from athletes with visual impairments, we put together this quick guide. READ MORE

“We are basically about health and safety, and that is what helps lead to independence and having someone remain independent, whether it’s in their own home, apartment or even assisted living,” said David Ekin, president of the Society for the Blind and Visually Impaired. The St. Louis Society for the Blind and Visually Impaired, is a non-profit that enhances the independence of persons blind or visually impaired and empowers them to enjoy quality lives. READ MORE

Miki Jordan is President and CEO, Wayfinder Family Services, a non-profit helping children and adults who are blind, visually impaired or multi-disabled achieve independence. “The new name – Wayfinder Family Services – embraces all of the people we assist,” say Miki. “We wanted a name that welcomes all the children and families who seek assistance from the organization. Our services have grown and expanded since 1953 to encompass both visually impaired and sighted children, children with multiple disabilities, medically fragile foster youth, blind youth and newly blind adults. And, we now help abused and neglected children find loving homes through foster family and adoption services.” READ MORE